Recording Gameplay from the Wii: Revisited

In September 2023 I wrote an article about recording gameplay from my Wii Console, and after about two months of usage I have come to a few conclusions and decided to change a few things to just have the system work better.

Here is a quick rundown of the problems that I have noticed and attempted to fix:

Synchronization issues

Synchronization of the audio and video on long recordings seemed to be drifting off a bit. It might have been because of the stream copying in the 60fps mode. A proposed fix is intermediary encoding with FFV1 (mainly because it needs to be fast and temporary file size is not a concern) and then final encoding as before with x264. The previously used scripts have been updated accordingly, they are now available on GitHub.

Not seeing the ffmpeg output while playing games

Occasionally, ffmpeg would just drop frames or stop working entirely. I’m sure that is a problem with my slow computer and not the program, but still, it would be good to see what is going on while recording. I’ve added a spare monitor to the setup where I can read the output.

Update: It seems that increasing the size of the realtime buffer has fixed the frame drop problems. Not sure if frames were actually dropped because the buffer wasn’t filled completely, the warning appeared at 63 percent.

Moving files, again

I initially recorded directly onto the SD card because I thought that encoding on the CPU of that computer would be too slow, and in fact is for realtime. It turned out that does not matter much, and forgetting to grab the card before and after a session turned out more problematic than that.

The computer has a 1TB hard drive that is fast enough to take the FFV1/FLAC stream I’ve come up with. Some rough calculations showed that I can record about eight hours of gameplay in that format before the HDD is full. Afterwards I can just run the ingest script and convert the recordings of a session to h264/aac.

For moving, it turned out fine to just do it over the Wifi. The PC has a relatively slow connection, it reaches about 5 MB/s for the file transfer when I’m lucky. But considering that 20 minutes of footage are only about 0.5 GB, I think it is good enough.


So far, I’m still pretty satisfied. The problems I’ve had so far aren’t that big of a deal really and I was able to fix them reasonably well. In case anything more comes up I will probably update this post.